Senate President Dr Augustin Iyamuremye on Tuesday told delegates at the ongoing 38th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Kigali that they must seize the opportunity, to reflect deeply on regional and global issues.
The assembly is one of the joint institutions provided for under the Cotonou Agreement, the framework for the EU's relations with 79 ACP countries, signed in Cotonou, Benin's largest city, in 2000.
The agreement whose fundamental principles include equality of partners, global participation, and dialogue is due to expire by end February next year when a new agreement is supposed to be finalized and approved.
The ongoing session, the Senate President said, is taking place at a critical moment: first, because ACP–EU countries are a few months away from the expiry of the agreement.
Iyamuremye added: “Secondly, because this deadline raises the question of redefining this partnership for the next few years, in a world in the throes of change, in the light of the political, economic and cooperation challenges facing our different regions and our respective countries.”
“Indeed, the moment is ideal, and we must seize the opportunity, to reflect deeply on regional and global issues, and to focus our political will and our efforts on an ambitious partnership, based on common priorities, and shared interests, with development pathways specific to each country. However, he noted that what was most important is to take action and actually walk the talk.
The transition from good intentions to results, he stressed, requires serious and inclusive work to bring the vision to fruition, and to implement the development strategies that “we agree upon, provided that we have the means to do so.”
Iyamuremye emphasized that countries actually have the tools and resources to reverse the trends, and meet the “challenges of our time,” whether to bring back or consolidate peace, climate change, unemployment or the fight against Corruption.
He brought to light how post-genocide Rwanda resisted the temptation to blame poor results for financial constraints and poverty.
“For example, for a little over two decades, Rwanda, with limited resources, has resolved to set itself precise and measurable objectives, with clearly defined indicators, particularly in the areas of education and training, youth vocational training, health, business environment, investment and industrialization as an engine for growth, while emphasizing implementation and results.”
Created in 1975, the ACP group's main goals centre on the sustainable development of its member-states and their gradual integration into the global economy; and coordination of its activities in the framework of the implementation of the ACP-EU partnership agreements, among others.
The meeting is, among others, debating on the state of food security and nutrition, as well as integration of a gender perspective into conflict management.
Speaking “on the issue at hand,” the post-Cotonou negotiations, Michel Kamano, co-President ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, said they were negotiating the way forward for the partnership.
“We look back and acknowledge that this partnership has grown both in the diversity of issues covered, as well as in the amount of resources allocated for cooperation,” he said.
However, Kamano submitted that this partnership should not only be measured in terms of statistics but also the solidarity that it has helped to build among peoples of the south and those of the north.
“This assembly has expressed the need and importance of a strong parliamentary assembly and I can only implore that we continue to be guided by the resolute conviction that a Joint Parliamentary Assembly at all ACP levels is key to a partnership that delivers for its people.”
Carlos Zorrinho, co-President of the joint parliamentary assembly, acknowledged that “we have the challenge to work and achieve a partnership of equals.”
On Saturday, lawmakers reiterated calls for a partnership of equals regarding making the ACP, as an institution, more credible and more forceful as regards Africa’s interests.
On whether a win-win scenario was possible during the ongoing p negotiations, Zorrinho told reporters that “in the short term, there are winners and losers but in the medium and long-term, it is possible to have a win-win partnership.”Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames